A service has been launched in the UK designed to help people across Britain improve their powers of recollection.
reQall has kicked off a free trial service that allows people to record voice notes, reminders or even short conversations, and then be automatically reminded of them, search for them and recall them weeks, months or even years later.
"The simplicity of reQall belies the complexity of the problem it is solving. reQall helps us remember those things that really matter, by simply making a phone call," said Peter Cochrane, advisor for reQall and retired chief technologist for BT.
Users of the service dial a freephone number and leave a voice message, for instance: "buy a Christmas present for my wife before 5pm on Christmas Eve this year."
The customer can then access this message at any time, either as a voice mail, email, text message, have it automatically added to their calendar as an event or included on a searchable web page.
Users can also input notes via text, email or through the reQall website.
Because of the way the service is designed, no software installations are needed and the service works on any platform.
"It's easy to lose the thread of your conversation when you're busy, distracted or overwhelmed; this is especially true in the holiday season," said Sunil Vemuri, co-founder and chief product officer of reQall.
"Rather than bombard people with more technology and make their lives more stressful, reQall uses the simplest and most intuitive way to help you remember – your voice."
Vemuri told vnunet.com that the service has been available in the US for around nine months and has proved to be very popular.
The service is based on Vemuri's research from the Media Lab of MIT into individual memory and 'memory prosthesis'.
reQall deploys speech recognition software, followed by manual verification, to transcribe audio data into text and then uses advanced search and retrieval tools to find a specific conversation or piece of information. The retrieval criteria can be anything from words or phrases to a date range.
The service is currently free to use. Vemuri explained that a chargeable premium service will be launched subsequently with fees dependent on the volume and range of services used. However, he vowed that a free version will remain.
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